Above is a short video I shot while I was experiencing Holo Cinema.

Holo Cinema Used On Rogue One And Episode 8

Holo Cinema and VR have already been used help the filmmakers of Star Wars: Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode VIII visualize virtual worlds that will appear in their films. Usually filmmakers will deal with concept art and animatics, and not fully see what these computer generated worlds look like until well into post-production. But now filmmakers can use Holo Cinema or VR to walk around an Star Wars planet that has yet to exist on film.

Gareth Edwards has also used Holo Cinema to help visualize some of the new alien characters we will see on screen in Star Wars: Rogue One. While I was in the Holo Cinema, I was able to walk around the virtual characters as if they were in the room with me. At one point, one of the ILM guys stood right next to C-3PO, and I could see how this kind of technology would help a filmmaker like Edwards get a sense of how these new alien characters might look scaled next to the human actors in the scene. They also have virtual cameras that allow them to see and plan various camera angles within the virtual worlds.

ILM says they are currently working with some big-name directors on current non-Star Wars film projects, using Holo Cinema to help visualize virtual environments prior to filming. They would not reveal any names, but I’m betting that Michael Bay has or will use this tech for Transformers 5 and that Holo Cinema will be used on future Marvel movies.

They also said that they are trying to make the tech more portable and easy to use on set so that filmmakers will have these tools at their disposal while they shoot their films. I remember being on the set of Real Steel where they were tracking the position of the cameras using motion tracking technology, which allowed them to insert crudely computer animated versions of the boxing robots inside the ring. This allowed the filmmakers to plan and shoot the action, rather than going off of rigidly planned concept art and animatics. But even then, most of the rough robot animation needed to be completed before the shoot.

Theme Parks and Multiple Viewers

While the ILM x Lab guys were unable to reveal any details, they did say that Holo Cinema could be used in theme parks like the upcoming Star Wars Land. Right now Holo Cinema only works with one viewer, but they would be able to expand an experience like this to multiple viewers through projectors with higher frame rates.

The set-up they have created allows the worlds and characters to be completely interactive or puppeteered as the visuals are rendered in real time. This means that this kind of technology could be used to allow theme park guests to interact in real time with Star Wars characters that couldn’t be brought to reality through costumes, and worlds that are too big to be constructed practically. Again, they were not able to confirm that this technology will be used in Disney theme parks or publicly at all, but its just too cool not to. I can’t imagine Holo Cinema will only exist in a room at ILM away from the public.

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